JERUSALEM (Dec. 18)
Premier David Ben Gurion was planning today to demand the resignation from the Cabinet of Achdut Avoda ministers who revealed to the press a secret Cabinet decision to send a leading Israel personality to West Germany allegedly to seek German support for international guarantees for Israel’s security.
Mr. Ben Gurion was reported to have indicated today that at the coming meeting of the Cabinet, next Sunday, he will insist that the two Achdut Avoda ministers resign, or he will tender his own resignation. Under constitutional procedure, if only two members of the Cabinet resign, they could be replaced by others without need for the entire Cabinet to resign. However, if the Premier resigns, it means the automatic fall of the entire Cabinet.
Members of the Premier’s own Mapai Party were struggling with him to hold off–they apparently agree on the ouster but not its timing. But the left-wing Mapam indicated opposition to any moves against the Achdut Avoda. An emergency meeting was held today of the political committee of the Mapam–from whom the Achdut Avoda broke off several years ago. After wards, a Mapam leader said that if the composition of the Cabinet is changed his party would have to reconsider its continued presence in the coalition.
Both leftist parties–the Mapam and Achdut Avoda–indicated today that they were not opposed to a mission to Germany per se, but only to the choice of the “leading personality” who was to make the approach to Bonn. As of this evening, the Israeli press was reporting that two official delegates, rather than the “personality,” would shortly proceed to West Germany. The Israeli public, unaware of the details of the situation, was nonetheless uneasy over the published Achdut Avodah charges that Israel’s security might be endangered by the Premier’s mission decision.
PREMIER REPORTS TO KNESSET ON OFFICIAL MISSION TO GERMANY
Mr. Ben Gurion told Parliament today that Dr. Giora Josephthal’s recent visit to Germany was on an official mission in behalf of the Israel Government. He did not disclose the nature of the talks between Dr. Josephthal and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, but denied they had negotiated on establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states. To a General Zionist criticism that he had sent a “party man”–Dr. Josephthal is secretary general of the Mapai–not a government official, the Premier replied that Dr. Josephthal was an able man and had previous contacts with Dr. Adenauer.
It is believed that Dr. Josephthal conveyed to the Chancellor, Israel’s decision to seek guarantees from NATO members for military assistance in the event the Arabs made a new military attempt to crush Israel. At the same time, it is thought, Dr. Josephthal had laid the groundwork for the mission of the “personality” over who, the entire crisis has blown up.
During a several hours long session this afternoon the leaders of the Mapai conferred over Mr. Ben Gurion’s threat to oust the leftists or resign. The atmosphere in high places in the government and party circles was one of increasing anger over the Achdut Avodah action which Mr. Ben Gurion is understood to have said endangered a matter vital to Israel’s security. Secrecy was an absolute requirement of the mission, the Premier is reported to have asserted.